“Highly scripted employees are often less able to be imaginative or empathetic about a customer’s true needs.” — Revolutionizing Customer Service, HBR April 2016
It can be easy to think that having a well-defined and developed script or playbook is the best way get all of your employees marching in the same direction, towards the elusive goals of massive growth and top rankings in your industry. And while it is important for everyone to know the goals and be headed towards them, scripts often are not the answer.
Particularly when it comes to customer service and delighting your customers, every employee offering the same solution with the same language just won’t cut it. Every customer’s problem is different. For those that do have the same problem – their item arrived broken, for example – you can be sure every customer will have a different view and attitude about the issue.
If employees aren’t trained to be sympathetic or empathetic to the customer, to just spout out the company lines, customers will know. If employees can’t think quickly and creatively when handling often emotional customers, it will show not only in customer service ratings but in the bottom line.
Give your employees the autonomy and authority to solve customer problems in different ways.
They absolutely need to know the larger goal and vision for their work and for the company. But empower them with the skills to deal with customers individually, offering unique solutions for unique customers and unique problems – because delighted customers will get you to those larger goals.
Here are just a few ways you can begin to flip the scripts for your customer service employees:
- Offer regular training on the deeper meaning of service, problem solving, brainstorming, and creativity.
- Give employees access to information on multiple industries and topics of interest and the time to learn on their own and apply it to their work.
- Hold small group or town hall style meetings where employees can share their stories with others – specific problems customers had and how they helped to solve them.
- Showcase and reward creative solutions.
- Highlight solutions that didn’t work as well and talk about why. Then figure out how to make them work next time.
Employees want to feel connected and empowered. Connect them not only to the vision of the company but to their customers as well. Empower them to solve problems in unique ways and share their results with others.
Then watch your customer service ratings and profits soar.
Comment below and tell me about your experiences with creative thinking customer service representatives.